by James Dashner

5 Stars

The Maze Runner - Wikipedia

The Maze Runner, by James Dashner, tells a story about a young boy named Thomas, who awakens in a strange elevator with all his past memories forgotten. As he emerges from the earth, he finds himself in a grassland, surrounded by dangerous stone walls that form a maze. In that maze, he also finds himself living in a community with a bunch of other boys who call themselves “The Gladers”. As Thomas slowly starts to gain back his memory, such as his name and age, he also discovers more sinister clues about the boys and the location he landed in. After learning about how the maze surrounds them all, Thomas is determined to help find a way out of this unknown maze with the help of his friends. The journey won’t be easy, as anyone who dares to find their way out of the maze will be haunted and attacked by the Grievers.  

I personally enjoyed reading this action-packed book. Dashner adds the right amount of clarity, detail, and mystery to help engage the reader. The way the plot moves and the different types of events that are happening forces the reader to keep thinking and imagining what will happen next. This is a key feature in Dashner’s writing style. It is a dystopian science fiction book about boys, who have been trying to find their way out of this maze for three years. However, everything changes when the protagonist (Thomas) arrives. I strongly urge you to, if you haven’t, give this book a read, especially if you love reading dystopian science fiction books. 

Ahmed Q.

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by Teresa Toten

5 Stars

The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B: Toten, Teresa: 9780385678346: Books -  Amazon.ca

Adam Ross is a very closed-off individual with many issues. Struggling with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), anger management and family issues, he has a very hard time fitting in with his peers, that is until he meets Robyn Plummer in an OCD support group. 

The moment he sees her, Adam instantly falls for Robyn, vouching to do everything in his power to protect her, to be the Batman to her Robin. She provides Adam with an escape from reality, but as soon as he leaves the support group, things get worse. Adam finds out his mother had been receiving threatening letters telling her to end her life; this sends Adam into a downwards spiral. Will Adam end up with Robyn? Will he find out who has been sending his mother those letters, or will he continue to suffer on his own, refusing the help of others?

In The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B, Toten highlights what people suffering from mental illness fear the most, knowing what the problem is but not knowing how to fix it. This novel shows us that it’s okay to ask for help; it is not a sign of weakness but one of bravery and strength. It is truly a rollercoaster of emotions that always has the reader on the edge of their seat, just waiting for what will happen next.

I very much recommend this novel. It can get quite dark sometimes, but that is the grim reality of life, and this story is very realistic. You truly feel a connection with the main characters, especially Adam; it is an excellent read and does not disappoint.

Vlada E.

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by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck

3 Stars

Frozen II - Wikipedia

The movie Frozen 2, directed by Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, is about an ice queen named Elsa (voiced by Idina Menzel), discovering some hidden secrets in the enchanted forests, or what she called the “unknown”. Elsa, her sister Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell), and her friends Olaf, Christoff, and Sven go searching for the mysterious voice that has been calling out to her. Elsa soon discovers the hidden secrets of her families’ past and discovers her most inner persona.  

Frozen 2 is a continuation of the first Frozen movie. I would recommend someone who is planning on watching this movie to watch the first movie of FrozenFrozen 2 is a very good family movie. It has some humour and a lot of drama. There are also a lot of songs and singing in the movie. The songs are very nice, but in my opinion, I feel like there was a bit too much singing. Many of the songs were unneeded and took over a large part of the movie. Personally, I would consider this movie as sort of a musical rather than a drama. I feel like the first movie of Frozen was better than the new one because it had fewer and simpler songs that you could sing to, and the songs connected well to the plots of the movie. The plot of Frozen 2 is very good, and the resolution is very appealing and ties all the loose ends together. Overall, I would rate this movie a 3 out of 5 stars. I feel like it would be a lot better if there were more drama and action than singing. 

Liza P.

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by Anne Brashares

5 Stars

The Here and Now by Ann Brashares

The Here and Now is a teen science-fiction novel written by Ann Brashares, that blends the catastrophic effects of climate change with time travel (from the 2090s to 2010), adventure, and teen romance. This story is about a seventeen-year-old girl named Prenna James, who immigrated to New York when she was twelve-years-old along with her mother and a few hundred others. However, they did not come from a different country, but from a different time. A future where a mosquito-borne illness has evolved into a pandemic, killing millions and leaving the world in wrecks. 

Prenna and the others who escaped from the future must follow a strict set of rules which are, never reveal where they are from, never interfere with history, and never, ever be intimate with anyone outside of their community. “Follow the rules. Remember what happened. Never fall in love.” Prenna does as she is told, believing she can help prevent the plague that will someday ravage the earth.

Everything changes when she falls in love with Ethan Jarves. Ethan is not a member of their community, and his relationship with Prenna is forbidden. In essence, a catalyst for her to question the strictures under which she lives. Quickly after she is confronted by a homeless man who proposes she may be able to prevent the disastrous future by changing the present. But why? If a disastrous future can be avoided, isn’t it rational to try? Rather, as the community believes, is it more important to “respect time’s integrity and her natural sequence”? 

This exhilarating, unforgettable, and heartbreaking story is a must-read. I really enjoyed reading this book. Reading this book had me really excited to know what was going to happing, but it also made me disappointed. Overall it was a good teen fiction book. I loved everything in the story except for the ending. I am not satisfied with the ending. I think there should be a sequel. Other than that, this book is amazing and must be read by anyone who loves a romantic thriller.

Angie L.

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A Curse So Dark and Lonely

by Brigid Kemmerer

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Prince Rhen is cursed. Not only does he have to relive his eighteenth autumn over and over, he must also find a woman to fall in love with him in order to break the curse. All is going as well as planned until Rhen takes the form of monstrous beast and destroys his entire family and those who live in his palace. When only him and his guard commander are left alive, they decide to start taking matters into their own hands.

Harper is used to being underestimated because of her cerebral palsy, so when she’s relegated to lookout on one of her brother’s ‘jobs’ she is left wondering if he will ever see her for the strong woman she is. While waiting in the darkness, Harper sees a strangely dressed man kidnapping a young woman. She pounces into action and is pulled from Washington, D.C into Emberfall.

At first Harper is at odds with Prince Rhen, but as the curse looms and Rhen’s transformation creeps closer, they start to work together in order to tackle the obstacles that lay ahead.

A fast paced and unique retelling of Beauty and the Beast, A Curse So Dark and Lonely is a must read for fans of retellings and fairytales!

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by Kayla Miller

4 Stars

Click: Miller, Kayla: 9781328911124: Books - Amazon.ca

This graphic novel written by an amazing graphic novelist author, Kayla Miller, was about a girl named Olive in grade 5 who’s facing a dilemma. In her grade 5 class, there’s a talent show going on that she’s very excited about. When all her classmates have an act she has to decide what to do. Whether she asks to be in one of her many friend’s acts or go solo. Olive is expecting to be asked to be included and not ask her classmates. She even says in the book that if she were to ask, it would make her seem like a dork. This graphic novel not only tells you about Olive and what she does to fix her situation but, it also teaches you about how at the right time and the right place something good can happen to you that may or may not fix our problem. Lastly, it also teaches you about who are your friends and who aren’t your friends. I would recommend this book to kids from grade four to grade 8. This book is based on a girl in middle school and might be too “childish” for those that are in high school

Not only was it an entertaining book, but it was also funny, exciting, and had a few moments of suspense. I liked the graphic novel so much that I finished it in the span of two days with a total of 2 hours, maybe even less. This graphic novel would be very age-appropriate for the ages of 9 and above. Although I’m above the age of middle school, I really enjoyed this book. I give this graphic novel a score of 4 stars out of 5 because there are some parts of the graphic novel I’d change. Olive was quite popular among her fellow classmates, but she didn’t seem to really have a best friend. All her classmates were basically her friends that she’d hang out with during different periods of the day, whether it was during the weekend, sleepovers, or just at school. Another thing that I’d change is some of the attitudes that Olive had toward different things. She didn’t want to ask anybody to be in their performance for the talent show because it would make her seem like what she thought was a dork. If I was her, having the whole class as my friends, I’d ask. It doesn’t hurt to ask, when you ask you’ll get your answer. Lastly, I’d change the appearance of some of the characters. In the graphic novel, some characters shown included Olive’s little brother, aunt, and mother. The presence of her brother in this graphic novel wasn’t there as much as I would have liked. What were her mother’s friends, her aunt’s friends, her brother’s classmates? Overall it was a well-written graphic novel to read. In the future, I’d most definitely read another novel like this, written by Kayla Miller.

Faith D.

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These Violent Delights

by Chloe Gong

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It is 1926 in Shanghai, and Juliette Cai is the heir to the Scarlet Gang. After returning from America, Chloe must assert herself back into a leadership position and earn the respect of the gangsters she will one day lead.

On the other side of town is the White Flowers, the Scarlet Gang’s only opposition. At their helm is Roma Montagov, Juliette’s once lover, now turned enemy.

While both heirs try to navigate the hierarchy within their gangs, a madness takes the city. Civilians, and gangsters on both sides are starting to claw their own throats out and the city is afraid. Together, Roma and Juliette must figure out the cause of this disease and end it.

In this Romeo and Juliet retelling, Chloe Gong weaves a beautiful and inventive tale full of intrigue and action. It is compelling and witty and is sure to leave your heart pounding.

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by Lois Lowry

5 Stars

Amazon.com: The Giver (9780385732550): Lowry, Lois: Books

The Giver is a very engaging novel with intense, fast-paced action on every page, taking the readers on a thrilling roller coaster ride to the unknown future. While this graphic novel is very close to the original book, it still allowed some room for creativity and imagination. Each illustration complemented the story and made the words pop out of its pages and take life. This book captures many emotions, such as feeling sad, confused, happy, scared, surprised, inspired, and loved. The storyline is amazing. The story’s suspense and cliffhanger made it a page-turner. The symbolism made the novel more interesting. As a reader, it will make you raise questions while holding you on your toes, leaving you wanting more and wondering more.

This graphic novel takes the readers on the journey of life, “without pain, color, or past” along with the protagonist of the story named Jonas. Jonas is a brilliant boy who lives in a dystopian society and is now faced with the greatest challenge of his young life. As the story evolves, one thing to appreciate is how the author showed the main characters’ flaws which made them more relatable, real, and inspirational. With every scene in the story, it pulls the readers right in and captures their imagination such that the readers feel as though he or she is part of the story itself. 

I would recommend this book to those who are 13 years old and over. This is great for students and can be part of the school’s library. Although there are several scenes in the story that are realistically for a more mature audience, the author has brilliantly written it in a manner that is child-friendly. So I encourage you to read this fictional novel and let your mind wander into the future and its possibilities.

Tyler D.

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by Derek Fridolfs

5 Stars

Field Trip Disaster (Secret Hero Society, #5) by Derek Fridolfs

A graphic comic novel that is intriguing and filled with fun and adventure describes what this book contains. And looking at the book I could tell that it was a part of a series; specifically the 5th book in the DC Comics: Secret Hero Society. I knew that this book would have aspects of adventure and mystery which drew my attention. This book was written by Derek Fridolfs and published in October of the year 2019. The Story is about Diana Prince, who is Wonder Woman, Bruce Wayne, who is Batman, and Clark Kent, who is Superman. But it all begins when a new exchange student arrives at their school, and they begin to have some suspicions due to the sole fact that they couldn’t find anything about the student.

As they dig deeper into the mystery they find themselves accidentally travelling into the future. They find out some terrible things that the villains are planning on doing, and it’s up to them to save the future and make their way back to the past in time. I think that this book was overall a pretty good read, but I feel as though it wasn’t as much for my age group, and it was meant for a much younger audience. I found it quite difficult to keep up with the plot. But overall, I personally enjoyed reading this comic. The author displayed a good sense of humour and creativity; For example, when he put the text messages so we would really see it from the character’s perspective. Personally, I don’t like how the book was all in black and white because I feel as though it took away from the imaginary aspect of the story. I recommend this book to much younger audiences who are into the thrill, adventure, and DC Comics.

Anne I.

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by J.K Rowling

5 Stars

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Book by JR Company

Harry kicks off his second year at Hogwarts after a terrible summer vacation with his relatives. Just as he starts packing up his bags, he receives a letter from a mysterious creature claiming, if he returns to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, disaster will strike immediately. Confused and worried, Harry sets out on his journey, back to his wizarding school to see what was wrong. The beginning of Harry’s second year at Hogwarts starts with fresh torments and horrors begin to arise, including a spirit who haunts the girl’s bathroom and other unusual events. But the real danger begins, as he discovers that a mastermind is turning the students of Hogwarts into stone. Harry and his friends have been assigned a difficult task, and it’s up to them to find out who this mastermind really is. Could it be Hagrid? Could it be Hermoine? Or possibly Harry himself? Find out by reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  

Overall, this book was an absolute gem. It’s filled with adventure, imagination, and fantasy that helps the reader engage more in the story. This exciting sequel makes me never want to put the book down. The words written in the story bring the wizarding world to life, making me and other readers wish this all would exist. It was well-crafted and included a surprising plot twist during the end. This book is a must-read, and I recommend this to all ages who love fantasy, action, and humour. I would give this book a 10/10. 

Ahmed Q.

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